Hi there! It was my birthday at the beginning of August and I wanted to make myself a new dress to celebrate. Unfortunately the end of July got away from me and I didn’t get my dress made. On my actual birthday I decided to spend the day sewing my dress. It was a great way to spend my day that resulted in one of my favorite things I’ve made this summer.
I had some gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze from Maker Mountain Fabrics just waiting to become something pretty and I decided my 45th birthday (what?! How did that happen??) was a great excuse to use it. (Not that I needed an excuse– it would have been a shame to let this pretty fabric sit unused in a cabinet for any longer!)
My first Charlie Caftan has gotten a ton of wear this summer as a swim cover up but it doesn’t get much wear as an actual dress since the fabric is pretty sheer. I decided to make another Charlie from the double gauze with the idea that I could wear it as a coverup at the pool or as a dress anywhere else.
After wearing my first Charlie caftan for a while I found that there were a few things I wanted to change. The first thing is that I really don’t like inseam pockets that flap all around. I wanted my dress to have pockets but I decided that it would be best to topstitch them to the front of the dress to keep them anchored in place. (I even went back and did this to my first Charlie, too, and I love it even more now!)
The second thing I realized is that I wish my caftan didn’t have ties. I think if I was wearing it more as a dress I would want the ties, but as a swim cover up I prefer it loose and floaty. It’s not that great a feeling to tie a dress to your wet swimsuit! The version of the Charlie caftan that first made me fall in love with the pattern is the Nani Iro dress in the pattern listing. It doesn’t have a waist tie and I love the look so much.
My mission became a way to make removable ties for this caftan. For this dress and my first one I used the cheater method to attach the center panel (I learned this method here.) Since it is topstitched to the front of the dress I considered making small fabric loops that I could sandwich into the outer edge of the panel to thread a tie through. In the end I sewed thread loops since I didn’t want the loops to be too noticeable when I’m not wearing the tie.
I made an extra long fabric tie that comes from the back of the dress, through the thread loops on the side of the panel, and ties in the back of the dress. It worked perfectly and I am so happy that I can wear the dress loose or cinched at the waist.
This fabric is such a dream to wear! I admit when I ordered it I was expecting the blue to be more navy but it is decidedly a bright turquoise. I was a little scared to wear such a bright color but once I got cutting and sewing all of my fears abated. I love bright colors in the summer and I feel so good in this caftan. My two Charlie caftans and the swimsuits I made this summer have made my trips to the pool even more enjoyable!
As far as my sizing details, I made this caftan the same as my first. It’s a size 8 graded to a 12 at the hips. I lengthened the dress by 3″. I raised the v-neck by 1.5″ and raised the armhole by 1″. This one feels a little looser than my first, which I think is just the difference in the two fabrics I used. A caftan is obviously supposed to be a loose garment and I’m really happy with the fit.
I’m considering going back and removing the ties from my first Charlie (which will be very easy since the front panel is topstitched on and not constructed like a welt.) I’ve mostly been wearing it with the ties stuffed in the pockets, but I think I can take the plunge and remove them. What do you think about the loose caftan look?
Thanks for reading!